§ Ms. Armstrong
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what assessment he has made of the effect that the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1986 will have upon the mobility of nurses between European Community countries, and with regard to the recognition of nursing qualifications in European Community countries.
§ Mr. Newton
The European Communities (Amendment) Act 1986 amends the European Communities Act 1972 so as to give legal effect in the United Kingdom to certain aspects of the Single European Act which was signed by the member states in February of 1986. The Single European Act amended the voting procedure on certain articles of the EEC treaty and introduced closer co-operation with the European Parliament. It did not affect the fundamental right of the freedom of movement for persons which is enshrined in the original EEC treaty. Directives to facilitate that right in relation to nurses responsible for general care were adopted in 1977. They provide for the co-ordination of nurse training and mutual recognition of qualifications throughout the Community. Specialist nursing qualifications which were not covered by the 1977 directives may be covered by the current proposal to provide for a general system for the recognition of higher education diplomas. The added impetus given by the Single European Act to complete the internal market by 1992 and the introduction of procedural and institutional reform may well enable this proposal to be adopted in the near future.